Dolly has been diagnosed with incurable cancer but her owners are trying to make the best of whatever time she has left.
Life throws several challenges our way and how we tackle them dictates how we'll remember them years down the line. While we can let ourselves be defeated by the hurdles we face, we can also choose to face them with positivity and loads of hope.
This is the approach Samantha Stanley and her 7-year-old dog named Dolly are taking toward life since hearing that the canine has an incurable form of cancer. Stanley received news of Dolly's cancer diagnosis in March 2022. She took her to the vet after feeling a lump while giving her furry friend a belly rub and the vet removed the tumor with surgery. Unfortunately, Stanley and her partner Danny Wragg, 30, were soon informed that cancer had spread to Dolly's lymphatic system despite the surgery.
They were heartbroken by the news that they only had limited time remaining with their beloved Dolly. However, instead of losing hope, they decided to make the best of whatever time they have left with her. Stanley, a software engineer, made a list of things she had always wanted to do with her dog but never got the chance to do. The list included a canoe ride in the Lake District and a road trip across the Scottish highlands.
In their ongoing efforts to fulfill the bucket list, Stanley, Danny and Dolly have created wonderful memories that will stay with them forever. Stanley told Teesside Live, "We were told that chemotherapy wouldn't really do anything other than slow down the spread of cancer, but it was hit or miss as to whether that was going to happen. So we've just decided to let her live her best life."
Speaking to Good Morning America, she said: "I've had her since she was eight weeks old and it was just a couple of little things that you don't get the time to do. Obviously, when we found out that she was ill we just wanted to make memories." After Dolly's diagnosis, veterinarians informed the couple from Darlington that dogs with this type of cancer usually have a lifespan of approximately eight months.
"So to be honest, the bucket list, we did most of the big things thinking that we wouldn't have her by Christmas last year," Stanley said. "So it is just the little things that we have to do now that we need to add to it because she is doing better than we thought."
Despite being ill, Dolly has not allowed her diagnosis to affect her cheerful personality. Stanley said, "She's slowing down a little bit, I think she has moments of being tired, but she goes out with a dog walker on a Monday and it sounds like she does backflips." Stanley and Danny—who is a software manager—were shocked by the cost of Dolly's medical treatment.
Although they had pet insurance, it was used up by Dolly's treatment, bringing them to the realization that other pet owners may not be as fortunate. Therefore, Stanley teamed up with her aunt, Julie Bell, to participate in the London Marathon and raise funds for the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). The marathon will take place on Sunday, April 23, and the pair will be running the 26.2-mile challenge.
Stanley has also created a JustGiving page to align with the marathon event. She has gathered approximately $2,700 so far, exceeding her target of $2,400, which will all be contributed to the PDSA, a major veterinary charity in the UK.
According to Stanley, the expenses incurred for Dolly's veterinary treatment were significant, but fortunately, they were able to pay off the remaining amount with the help of pet insurance. However, they do recognize that not everyone is so fortunate to care for their pets.